Tag Archives: Powdered sugar

Life is Just a Bowl of Berries

This sweet cream cheese fruit tart is a berry simple dessert; I found this recipe among my mother’s clippings and was surprised how easy it is.  Of course, she made her pastry from scratch, but I took a short cut with the pre-made dough.

Sweet Cream Cheese Berry Tart

  • 8 oz package Philly cream cheese (my mother only used Philly – staying true to her roots)
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • pie crust dough (or 1 refrigerated pre-made pie crust)
  • 2 cups fruit (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat together: cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, 2 tablespoons cream of tartar, egg yolk, and almond extract.  In a separate bowl, mix fruit with 2 tablespoons of sugar and remaining tablespoon of cream of tartar.

If using refrigerated pie crust, roll it out a little and then cut into four or five pieces that will fit into large muffin slots.  My tin holds six, but I only had enough dough for 5, so I tried a little experiment. I added a little water to the empty spot before baking, and then filled a custard cup with the cream cheese mixture and fruit – it fit nicely into the slot – turned out tasty.

Fill bottom of each tart with cream cheese mixture and then top with fruit.  Fold the edges over slightly to look like a small pie.  Brush the edges with the egg white.  Bake about 30 minutes (until edges of the pie crust are lightly browned).  Cool and enjoy.

Fried Dough – The Italian Version of a Donut

Both my mother and grandmother made this version of donuts, usually on a cold day.  I made them whenever it snowed  – for the neighborhood kids who came in to warm themselves after sledding down our hill – or falling into our almost frozen pond at the bottom of the hill.   No snow where I live now – but the dusting of confectioner’s sugar still reminds me of those snowy days.

Italian Fried Dough 

  • 1 cup warm milk (warm briefly in microwave)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 package dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • flour

Proof the yeast in the warm water.  Add to milk, olive oil, sugar, and egg in a large bowl.  Add enough flour to make a soft dough (1 to 2 cups or more).  Form into a soft ball.  Sprinkle olive oil on bottom of the bowl.  Flip dough ball so that both sides are slightly coated with oil.  Cover with moist towel and let rise about an hour.

When dough is doubled, punch down and pinch off walnut sized pieces, flatten, and place in pan with hot vegetable oil.  Dough will rise quickly; flip over and brown on both sides; remove from pan, and roll in confectioner’s sugar while hot.

Tip:  Be sure all ingredients are warm – but not boiling.   Doughnuts taste best when hot.

Glazed Mini Pumpkin Muffins

My mother was famous for her inedible pumpkin pie, but this recipe from her secret stash is actually pretty tasty – especially with the glaze.

Simmer one 15 oz can of pumpkin – that’s plain pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie filling, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 1 teaspoon nutmeg until pumpkin starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.   Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup oil (olive works), and beat in 2 eggs.  Add 2 cups of flour with 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon  salt. Also add 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, if you like crunchy muffins.

Bake in mini cupcake tins lined with paper cups. While still warm, glaze with mixture of 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar and 2 tsp water and 2 tsp vanilla.

Don’t skip the glaze; cupcakes are blah without it.